Methane gas is colorless and emits no odor or smell, and is usually used for igniting or lighting. Methane gas is produced from the decaying natural matter. Though useful, methane gas has a number of risks that you should be well aware of. Being knowledgeable about the harmful effects that methane has on your body will highly reduce the level of risk involved when you come in contact with this gas.
Because it is a colorless and odorless gas, it is difficult to detect whether or not there is a methane gas leak in your home. Some commercial gas companies add hydrogen sulfide to the methane gas, which produces a strong “rotten egg” odor. This was done so that you can identify if the methane gas is leaking. If you do not detect the gas leak and any type of fire or spark is present in the area, the gas will catch on fire and has the ability to cause a large explosion. Although it is not a toxic gas, when in contact with fire, methane gas produces carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide which are toxic. It is important that you store methane gas far away from direct heat sources.
Effects of Small, Medium, and Large Concentrations
When used in moderation and small amounts, methane gas is quite safe especially when you use it safely. It is, after all, not a toxic gas. Be sure to have good ventilation and clean air in the area when using methane gas so that you can breathe properly and safely. In big amounts and high concentrations, however, methane gas can be quite harmful. It has the ability to rid the body of oxygen which can cause asphyxiation, respiratory problems, as well as convulsions. If you are exposed to a medium concentration, you can experience nausea, vomiting, and in some cases even loss of consciousness. If you are exposed to a slightly lesser concentration of methane gas, you can experience rapid breathing, increased heart rate, dizziness, and exhaustion. These effects will wear off once you immediately remove yourself from methane gas exposure.
Much like oxygen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen, methane gas is also produced by the body. It is produced during the digestion process and creates intestinal gas. When intestinal gas is caused by methane, the body experiences a strong but quick feeling of pain in the intestinal area. Relief is generated when the gas is released from the body. This effect of methane gas on the body is not life-threatening, but it causes pain and discomfort.
If high concentrations of methane gas is released and comes in contact with skin, it has the ability to cause frostbites. It will turn the exposed skin a whitish/grayish yellow color. The pain associated with frostbites will also occur. You can prevent the harmful effects of methane gas on your skin by wearing protective give such as plastic gloves, footwear, and protective goggles.